Native to: Western, central, and southern Europe, northwest Africa, northern Iran and southwest Asia
Grows up to: 28m
Lives up to: 2000 years
Description: Yew is a common sight in the UK, often found in church yards or shaped into hedges. The leaves are thin and flat, between 1-4cm long, and grow in a spiral arrangement from the stem. Although the leaf bases begin as a spiral, they flatten out to form two flat rows on either side of the stem. Their seed cones are coated in a bright red fleshy layer that looks like a berry that's open at one end. Another defining characteristic of the Yew is its bark. The bark is reddish brown and is often found peeling off in thin papery strips.
Fact: Pretty much all of the yew is poisonous and eating the foliage could result in death. Not only is the Yew biologically dangerous to humans, it's also been put to work by humans for dangerous purposes. The tree was particularly suitable for crafting the longbow, which the English and Welsh deployed to great effect in many battles, and was also found to be the material used for the Clacton Spear, a spear unearthed in Clackton, UK, estimated to be over 400,000 years old.